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    safely shooting an annular eclipse...
    i'll be in prime viewing area for the annular eclipse this sunday and i'd like to shoot it....safely. my plan was to shoot a landscape style timelapse of the eclipse through sunset, i dont have the equipment to shoot only the eclipse in a tight frame. however i only recently discovered that annulars can damage your camera. my feeling says the eclipse will only damage the camera if your shooting with a big tele pointed directly at the sun. since landscape style timelapses of sunsets are shot all the time, i figure how can an annular eclipse be any worse. but these articles ive read are saying the suns rays are "concentrated"....towards earth im assuming?? i dont know much about shooting the the sun and how strong light would damage the sensor, so im curious whether its safe to shoot the eclipse at a wide frame?


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    I know people do sun shots all the time with success, but it seems like risky business to me.

    Do an experiment this evening at the same time as the eclipse tomorrow. Assuming you have a camera with removeable lens, take the lens off the camera. Aim the lens at the sun and focus the image on your hand. See how hot it gets. If you can't stand it, your sensor can't either. In fact the threshold of pain is quite a bit higher than what is tolerable by electronics. So if it feels like it is getting warmer than is comfortable, don't do it. If it only feels warm, it is likely safe.

    You can shoot through an arc welding helmet; not torch welding glasses (which are similar to sun glasses).

    To me, its just not worth it unless you know what you are doing. Enjoy the eclipse and leave the lens cap on.

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    Senior Member AtticusLake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Southern England
    Solar viewing filters can easily be purchased online. I would strongly recommend putting one in front of your face, and then worry about the camera....

    Bear in mind that since this is an annular eclipse, the full intensity of the Sun will be visible at all times during this eclipse, so looking at it (or pointing your camera at it) without protection, during any part of the eclipse, will likely cause harm.

    OTOH, as you correctly point out, people shoot wide-angle landscape sunsets all the time. One thing for sure is that the Sun is NOT any more intense during an eclipse than at any other time. People talking about the suns rays being "concentrated" are talking complete garbage -- there is no concentration. All that happens is that part of the Sun is blocked out, that's it. The reason there are more eye injuries during an eclipse is simply that more people are looking at the Sun then.

    BTW, Fred Espenak is the go-to guy for good eclipse information. Check out his information on eclipse photography here:

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    Senior Member
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    Jan 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    Inexpensive solar filters are made from aluminized mylar. See if you can locate some of that. It's optically very flat so I wouldn't worry about distortion like you sometimes encounter with #14 welders glass.

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